What Media Publishers Need to Know about Voice Search

Don Don | April 18, 2023 | best practices, visitor experience

Twenty-seven percent of Internet users worldwide now use voice search on their mobile devices, with an estimated 50% in the U.S. using it daily.

46% of smart speaker owners use it to hear daily news from their favorite media publishers and those they've yet to discover through optimization of voice search for media publishers.

Yet, many publishers are still behind in implementing voice search strategies. That's unfortunate, given that those who adopt and adapt early will find themselves ahead of the game.

This bulleted FAQ will share strategies for publishers to optimize content for voice search.

What Is a Voice Search Strategy?

A voice search strategy is a type of search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that increases the chance that information on your website is offered up in response to a voice query. The strategy involves:

  1. Researching what your target audience is searching for via voice

  2. Directly and concisely responding to those queries

  3. Positioning your website to be chosen by voice assistant technologies like Siri, Alexa, and Google

It's important to realize that voice technologies don't only speak the answers. They often display the top websites if the device has a screen. Then the voice searcher clicks a choice and continues interacting "normally" with your website. That's great for both text and voice SEO.

What's the Difference between Voice Search and Text Search?

There's definitely some overlap between voice and text search. Everything that's important for SEO also matters for voice search—being user and mobile-friendly, speed, high-quality content, relevance, authority, and yes, even backlink earning.

  • Conversation vs Keywords: One critical difference is that users tend to use longer, more conversational phrases when performing voice searches, as they're more likely to speak naturally than type out queries.

  • Question phrases: Voice search is more likely to be used for question-based queries.

  • Local optimization: Voice search queries are more likely to be local in nature.

  • Featured snippets: Voice assistants often provide a direct answer to the user's query, usually sourced from a featured snippet on the search results page.

  • Mobile optimization: Voice search is most often performed on mobile devices.

  •  Tone of queries: Voice search queries often use conversational language, and hence content that uses a conversational tone is more likely to rank for voice search.

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How Can I Develop a Voice Search Strategy?

1. Use Structured Data
Schema markup helps search engines understand how information is organized on the page and what information means. Make sure you're using the proper tags and metadata to showcase what the page is about.

Optimizing for voice search for media publishers includes laying out information logically so that voice assistants can deliver exact answers to questions.

2. Target Full Sentences
Voice queries are longer, more specific, and often include question words. To optimize for this, target relevant questions. Don't be afraid to be very specific and niche.

This will allow you to become the best answer to that specific query. In voice strategy, in particular, it's worth it to be the best answer for a smaller audience than trying to "appear" in more searches as third or fourth best.

3. Write Conversationally
People expect a conversational response to casual questions, and the voice assistant may read the answer aloud. For these reasons, the listener will struggle to connect with the answer if the wording isn't conversational. As a result, they ask again or click a different answer.

As with SEO, search engines consider how the searcher interacts with the results when deciding which answers to deliver up. If real people are rejecting your answers, your answer is not seen as relevant.

4. Invest in Local SEO, if Local
Over two-thirds of local searches are voice searched. Optimizing for local SEO is essential for some types of searches, such as local news, services, or events. Include your business's or affiliates local presents in your content, and speak in terms that connect with a local search, when applicable.

By optimizing for local search, content websites can appear in local search results, even if they don't have a physical location in the area. This can help increase their visibility to local audiences who are interested in their content. Local search optimization can also help content websites target their advertising efforts more effectively.

5. Capture Prime Search Real Estate

Voice assistants often pull their answers from information cards that appear on search results and "people also ask". When targeting a particular query, pay attention to what's already here.
These show you what the search engine thinks is most relevant to the question. You can use that knowledge to craft voice search-friendly content.

6. Answer the Right Questions the Right Way
Think about the context within a real conversation. What questions will people ask about this topic? These are the question you must be ready to answer.

7. Write Some FAQs
Chances are it would make little sense to your subscribers if you made every article a FAQ. But given the power of voice search, it may be worth your while to find ways to incorporate some FAQ-style pieces into the publishing calendar.

If FAQs articles don't align with your branding, try quick FAQs at the end of an article to highlight important information. This allows you to stick with the article format your audience already expects while targeting "people also ask" questions.

8. Analyze the Words Your Audience Uses
If your audience uses niche jargon, that's what they'll say during a voice search. Consider your audience's use of language and mimic them.

9. Don't Rely on Buzz Words
In titles, buzzwords can earn clicks with traditional SEO. They show you're on-trend. But a voice algorithm is going to ignore them. They're not content words that express the intent of the searcher.

For example, your audience doesn't care if your Gardening Guide is "Ultimate", "Complete", or "Definitive", so the voice assistant won't either. As far as voice assistants are concerned, you might as well leave these descriptors out.

Similarly, avoid excessive use of buzzword descriptors when creating the answers for voice searches. Voice searches favor compact answers that don't mince words.

10. Use Lists
Voice search will deliver lists to specific voice queries, even if the text is under each heading. If someone asked, "How do I develop a voice search strategy" a voice assistant could deliver this list. Make list headings short and perfectly summarize the section.

Overall, optimizing for voice search requires a different approach than optimizing for text search. The key is to focus on natural language and conversational queries, local SEO, mobile optimization, and featured snippets.

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